Robinhood’s commission-free trading app is making its debut in the UK (the land of its namesake), according to an official blog post from the company posted on November 19. The move comes after the company achieved a $7.6 billion valuation with the completion of a $323 million fundraising round in July.
While Robinhood didn’t share an exact date for its UK launch, the platform is all ready to go from a regulatory point of view–it was originally approved to operate as a broker in the United Kingdom in early August.
We first set out to democratize our financial system in the US.
Today we’re introducing @RobinhoodAppUK—for the United Kingdom to invest without commissions, foreign exchange fees, or account minimums.
— Robinhood (@RobinhoodApp) November 20, 2019
Robinhood will face competition–but the size of the company may present a huge advantage
However, TechCrunch reported that the company was already stealthily recruiting new hires for its London office all the way back in January of 2019. Quartz reported that Robinhood took on TransferWise and Plum veteran Wander Rutgers as head of its UK business this week.
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In addition to its $7.6 billion valuation, Robinhood has grown to have over 6 million users in the United States since it was founded in 2013, in spite of skepticism surrounding the circumstances of its birth and early growth period.
However, Quartz pointed out that the company faces an entirely new set of challenges upon its UK entrance–the current landscape is rife with copycat companies that have already managed to establish themselves in the market. For example, a startup company called “Freetrade” already offers access to US and UK stocks and has begun a waiting list for companies in several countries across Europe in preparation for an expansion.
However, the foundation that Robinhood has managed to build over the last six years in the US has given the company a huge pool of resources to draw from as it enters into British markets, while startup companies like FreeTrade must rely on investors to keep going; with its financial heft, Robinhood may also be able to offer users more free features.
”Infinite money cheat code” glitch discovered on Robinhood earlier this month
Finance Magnates reported earlier this month that the app was hit by a trading glitch that apparently allowed certain customers to acquire an ‘infinite leverage’ while trading stocks, a glitch that users began to refer to as Robinhood’s “infinite money cheat code.”
At the time, some users on internet forums made claim losses that would be passed onto the no-fee trading startup. One Reddit user wrote, “remember folks, if you lose 5 grand, it’s your problem. If you lose 5 million, it’s Robinhood’s problem.”